English museum theft suspects arrested in dawn raids

A total of 19 suspects have been arrested in connection with a spate of thefts from English museums, in a series of dawn raids that took place yesterday (September 10).

Chinese jade water trough
The thieves were clearly experienced in the collectibles world, with Chinese artefacts such as this in great demand on the market

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) co-ordinated the arrests after many Chinese artefacts and a rhinoceros horn were taken from museums across the country in 2012.

Those affected include Durham University's Oriental Museum, Norwich Castle Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and Gorringes Auction House, East Sussex.

Many of the stolen items have since been recovered, though the whereabouts of several pieces is still unknown. Eight people have previously been convicted for the crimes, while those arrested remain in custody.

"The series of burglaries last year had a profound effect on museums and similar institutions and we are committed to bringing all those who were involved in the conspiracy to justice," commented Chief Constable Mick Creedon.

"Many of the stolen Chinese artefacts are still outstanding and a substantial reward remains on offer for information which leads to the safe return of those priceless items."

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